Sunday, March 19, 2017

Two of my favorite little tips

 It has been a while since I shared some easy life hacks, or simple household tips, and because this is the week of someone's 16th birthday party, I decided I wanted to share something lighthearted and quick with you.  (That way I am sure to not get overly emotional that I'm about to have a sixteen year old son! Whaa!!)  We have a big paintballing extravaganza planned for the weekend and I'm not at all ready for it since we settled my daddy in an Alzheimer's home last week, which pretty much consumed my energy.  I have no idea why, it's not like I was doing exhausting things, but it was a lot of mental exhaustion...  Today I hung a little banner and lights, so I'm getting there!
I am sharing something that I've used for years and I seldom think about it until someone remarks what a great idea it is.  I think we all do little things like that, and how cool would it be if we all shared them? (Feel free to hook me up with your great ideas in comments. I have a feeling everyone will enjoy!) Anyway...  Ever think a box of matches was attractive d├ęcor?  (Me either.) One day it occurred to me that if I were to place matches into a cute little jar or container, I'd have them handy for lighting the candles we use daily and they wouldn't be such an eyesore.

**The glass container I used here was actually a jelly container from Ikea.  Which brings me to my secondary little tip.  If you're attempting to get sticky labels off anything, I have a fool proof solution and even my children now swear by it. Pam or non stick cooking spray.  All you need to do, is peel the sticker off as much as you can, then hit the entire surface of the residue with the non stick spray.  (Olive oil spray and coconut spray do not work quite as well, FYI).  Let it sit for a moment, then take one of those green and yellow scrubbing sponges gently to it (I use the green side).  You may need to add a bit more non stick spray but it should only take a moment for it to all scrub off.  After the residue is gone, you'll be left with an oily mess from the spray so put a little dollop of dish soap on it and use the same scrubber to scrub all over, then rinse in hot water and it should be squeaky clean and shiny.**
The only problem with removing matches from their original ugly box, is that you have nothing to strike them against.  Solution: Cut a piece of the cardboard striker off the box...
 ... and adhere it to the bottom of the match vessel.  (I used a piece of rolled tape, but hot glue or glue dots also work well.)
 Done.  And considerably cuter than a box of matches.  I love setting a jar like this next to a candle that I use frequently because it's both handy and pretty. 

What are some great household tips you like to use to make life easier, prettier, or more efficient?  Share them in comments if you'd like!

And wish me luck on preparing for this weekend's paintball war.  I think I'm just watching and photographing... but I'm so tempted to join in!  I'm a tad afraid of the welts you supposedly get and these boys are pretty intense so I'm not sure I should join the fray. Ha!


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Creating new spaces

I've been getting so much feedback asking me to further dive into home organization/downsizing etc, and I've been slowly working on that post and video for you.  (If you have specific questions for me don't hesitate to leave them in comments here, and I'll try and add them in before I publish that other post.)  I had planned to get that finished by today but then over the weekend we flipped our guest room into a home office, very spur-of-the-moment, and I decided that would be more fun to share anyway. 

Don't get me wrong, we so loved having a guest room.  I mean, once a year when it was used, we were in hosting heaven.  I think we always imagined that with so much family living out of town, we'd have more company.  But then nobody in our family ever stayed here so it was down to our yearly friends who pop into town for a night or two.  It was getting harder and harder to justify keeping an entire room for a once a year use.  I squeezed my beloved treadmill in there last fall and have really enjoyed having it inside rather than in the garage where the boys work out.

Over the past month, we made a family decision that tipped the scales in favor of getting rid of the guest room.  We decided that I would be quitting my part time job as an organizer to take an Office professional course with my husband's company and become his new office professional later this spring.  (I could write a post on just that topic if I had time.  I am SO excited to work for him.  He is getting busier and busier, and we feel confident that my help will free him up to see more clients and help our family financially even more than my current job, plus, I'll still be organizing... I'll just be organizing my favorite man's life.  Which I already kind of do anyway. Grin.)

That said, I'll be working from home quite a bit, especially in the summer when kiddos are around.  Also, my sweet hard working husband could use a more private space than the kitchen table for his evening work.  So one evening out of the blue, I suggested we sell the guest bed and buy an actual desk!  Then it hit me almost immediately, that I had already purchased half of a desk from Ikea.  (A while ago, I had purchased one of their narrow drawer consoles and been using it as a side table in the living room at first, then later in our master bedroom.) I quickly looked online and found the desk top, and a matching drawer console.  Adrain liked the idea, and the price, and within the weekend, we'd sold the bed to a friend on facebook and run up to Canada where our nearest Ikea is and quickly created a new home office space. 

I repurposed the giant chalkboard that had lived in our living room the past couple of years, as a calendar, and pulled the navy and gray rug in from the garage.  It worked so perfectly in this room and we spent no other money than the two desk parts!  Adrain is going to add some casters to the bottom of this thrifted chair that I'd made over last year and that was that! 

It was so nice to move our printer in here, as it had been in our master bedroom before for lack of any other spaces.  I tried to make it a bit cute and Adrain sweetly let me since we'll be sharing this workspace.  

Now the one thing I had been really apprehensive about was having a computer out of mama's eyesight.  I'm not going to like that, I'll be honest.  You do the best you can and you put as many passwords and blocks on things but ultimately you have to trust and see.  I have an entire post in my head about social media, phones, technology and such.  In my start of the year vlog I mentioned this topic and many of you responded so I know we're all seeking the best path on this.  I promise to get back to it at some point.  (For now, I just know that I can pop in and see the reflection of the screen in the window behind to check and see what's being worked on, and I've already (secretly) used that several times.) (Ha!)

I've included a little video tour vlog for you at the end of this post, because I really think it's nice to see the real deal.  (You can see that our cord management was kind of a hack job, but we did the best we could with a floating desk.) (I'm the one who wanted that. I just like to be able to look out into the street, and also not face a wall.) I think Ikea must be discontinuing these pieces because we got them both on clearance.  However, they had some really similar options in case you're looking for one. Also, we chose the larger desk top size and are very happy with it.  We debated but for homework, evening work spreading out and such, it's nice to have it.  Also we have a computer with an internal hard drive and wireless printer, and we have loved it for the past couple of years.  Fewer cords and such.  

Let me know if you have any more questions that I didn't answer here or in my video, in the comments section and if you haven't already had a chance to, you may enjoy subscribing to my youtube videos, under my name, Sasha Brodeur.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Lent, and a bunch of other stuff...

Happy almost first weekend of March y'all!  I just returned from celebrating my Mama's birthday with pedicures and lunch, then baking brownies for the hungry teens that invade once school and practice is finished.  I'm so thrilled it's March.  It's always a bit crazy around here with all the birthdays and spring holidays but I adore and thrive on! Seder dinner is just around the corner, and you can be sure I'm already thinking ahead about making a pretty spring table for that, as well as the other spring traditions that I kind of let slide last year.  I wasn't feeling it with my daddy's Alzheimer's diagnosis and I gave myself a free pass.  However, my children told me the free pass was over and I needed to get back to making life fun again so that's what I'm all about.  So important to live in the now, even if your heart is grieving what used to be.  All in. 

Last night, we attended an amazing Ash Wednesday service at our new church.  (Have I mentioned that we started attending a sweet little church in late August and the first Sunday, knew we were home? Huge blessings all around with a church that is all about community- something we were craving in our very core.)  I've never been to a Lent service but it was so fun to lay down a card with the thing we were choosing to give up for Lent, then take communion and pick up a card with "God" printed on it.  Laying down something in our life, to push some extra room in, so we can accept more of God, awareness of His presence in our life and an appreciation of this precious season and the great sacrifice we celebrate at Easter.  Oh how I love it!  (We also got the ash crosses on our foreheads with a blessing and I can now check that off my bucket list.)

Lest I keep you hanging, waiting to hear what I gave up, I shall share. I actually spent a week on this subject recently because I wanted to give up whatever it was that God wanted me to give up. So I prayed and asked Him and He made it pretty clear almost immediately... complaining.  (I know right? I was surprised too, especially considering I don't think of myself as an unusually annoying complainer type... then again, does anyone?)  But, as the pre-lent weeks unfolded, I was so clearly aware that I complain (often subtly, sarcastically, or with eye rolls and humor to mask it) all too often, don't seek to see His blessings in situations I'm not enjoying, and let it affect me and seep into my surrounding relationships.  Ack!  So off to give that up these next forty days (and hopefully indefinitely).  Are you giving something up?

I feel like this is another whole post but the post title says, "a bunch of other stuff" and it's kind of related to the letting stuff go for Lent or otherwise theme.

I feel like our life is so different now than it was last fall when I "stopped blogging" (let's all giggle at that for a moment).  (And when I say so different, I mean a little different.  I like to be dramatic for effect, don't you know.)  I just realized that I've been working part-time for an organizing company for the past 3 years and I can't tell you how it's twisted my thinking and ideas on letting go of things.  I see so many homes that aren't homes, they are simply storage units for way too many unused material items... I see older parents holding onto things their adult kids are never going to want, and I see how things trap and hold people hostage in all manner of ways.  It's honestly sickening and I find myself coming home from most organizing jobs feeling a bit desperate to throw something (anything) into a donate bin and refocus!  

Years ago, Adrain and I dreamed about getting a bed and breakfast and running it in our retirement but I think the combination of seeing my parents forfeit the plans they had for later life as they go through this Alzheimer's journey, coupled with my job as an organizer, has taken Adrain and my dreams and pointed them into a whole other direction.  We now dream of simplifying our entire life, buying a small condo, in our bustling little nearby Village neighborhood where we can walk pretty much anywhere we need to go, and maybe share one car.  We dream of  taking off for occasional weekends to do things and make memories while we can.  Shaking off attachment to things  and entirely changing the look of our next stage of life.  We honestly can't wait.  God often laughs at our plans so we're holding it loosely of course, but moving forward into this new direction for the life we crave.

Of course, this has had a dramatic effect on our daily choices.  I've spent the past 3 years downsizing our things little by little.  That's an odd way to phrase it, but true. We're still thinking and dreaming and we constantly ask one another, "would we take this to our condo someday?  Why do we keep it now then?" (Throw pillows will of course go and are of great importance... Wink.) I did the Madame Chic closet challenge and have spent the entire last year going season by season, paring down my clothing to only about 22 items in any given season and it's incredibly FREEING. As in, totally life changing in every way and I so recommend it if you haven't done it. (Jennifer L. Scott is the Author and all three of her books are delights.) I don't have a linen, hall or decor closet stuffed with anything much other than some toys for tiny visitors... what we have is what's out, we love it, and it's seen and used daily. We all have one set of sheets and we wash them and put them right back on.  My kitchen holds all we need for any entertaining event and we even have an empty cupboard. When we started this process, we decided to have zero guilt about it, no matter who gave it to us or when we got it, or what we spent.  It was time for a life change and we flung ourselves into it! I even got our Christmas decorations condensed  into one large bin.  ONE. 

I figure at this rate, by the time kiddos graduate if not long before, we'll be all set and living ultra-minimally.  (And side note, sweet Ava wants us to do this when she's a senior in high school so she can be in on the adventure a little before she goes to college. Um yes. And yes please!)

Anyway, this is truly my heart these days and I daresay my passion.  Part of why I wasn't certain the direction I could take this blog, was that so often you see social media showing more things to purchase, new ideas to incorporate, extra this, better that, new trends here, etc.  I was at war with this idea and needed the space to shed actual things, and find my focus in all of it.  I will still gladly open my home to you as we continue, and share our spaces. We have a few inexpensive home tweaks possibly to come, (can you say rip off that cabinet and hang open shelving?) but I do fear that it could be a bit more boring (or perhaps refreshing?) as we have more blank, breathable walls now where we didn't before, and are working on this daily less is more mindset in literal ways of having less.  I included a few shots from around the house that make me smile since it's been quite a while since I shared any home photos and I'd like to say that I naturally gravitate to soothing, calm neutrals but even more so when the outside forces feel chaotic or stressful like this season we're in with my daddy.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Lent, and letting go, and what I've said here about being so easily trapped by our possessions and excess. As always, you are precious gems and I adore your readership and encouragement and hope this place encourages you as well. 


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Entering February...

 Happy (almost) February dear ones!

I had a tentative goal of getting a YouTube video/vlog up once a month, but I imagined that I'd also be blogging in between those projects a little bit more.  Alas, life. Today, I wanted to chat with you about romance, keeping it going and doing our part as women.  Relationships are two part circumstances, and we can only be held responsible for the part we play in them.  I searched out a few ideas in the bible since that's my source and I hope that it inspires you even if it's not always in line with the popular feminist view overall.  (I've never claimed to be that, I simply take the bible for truth and go from there.)

I had a lovely opportunity to go away with my husband for a work trip recently.  While there, (and before I was slammed with food poisoning for an entire day) I recorded my thoughts on this subject.  (I want to tell you this as a side note.  I'm not a professional YouTuber, I only do one take and I'm very firm on that, no matter how many errors or things I wish I'd said better.  I strive to be as authentic as possible here and I suppose that means you get what you get when it comes to our video chats.  I have to be honest, I love em.  They are stupid easy for this stage of life so y'all may want to subscribe via YouTube.)  (I've got a talented friend who's promised to help me with music and graphics and polishing them up a bit in the future but they will still be a one take, authentic me deal.)

You can watch my video below, or by clicking here. 

Getting kids into the act of celebrating... I found a few fun things for the upcoming holiday of love, and wanted to share them with you.  Doesn't Pinterest seem to have it all?  (Don't be fooled into thinking that's truth... but you can certainly find some great ideas and these tags are free!) You can find the free printable for these tags here.

 I also found this fun trail mix (grahams, marshmallows and pretty candies) (no recipe needed) and plan to make festive lunches for my people on V-day!
 I saw this idea and though my version isn't nearly as cute as this one I saw on Pinterest, I used what I had on hand and it will make for a sweet (get it?) breakfast on Valentine's morning.

In addition, we always do what we call a backwards dinner that evening as a family, featuring dessert FIRST!  It has been a huge hit every single time.

What do you and your family do to celebrate? 
 As I close, I wanted to share this with you all, since most of you have been here from the start.  I'm listing my entire camera, bag and equipment for sale, but I wanted to offer it here first in case someone is looking for a used one in excellent condition.  I've taken nearly every photograph on this blog with this camera and these two lenses, for years.  I began with a Canon Rebel and learned photography, then I progressed to this Canon 7D which I love.  I'm selling these so that I can purchase a smaller, lighter weight camera with better video and wifi capability for the direction I'm taking this blog, and also for travels and hiking etc, and I'll be sure to share more on that at some point. (I LOVE this JoTotes camera bag so if you end up purchasing it, please enjoy the heck out of it but beware, every woman's eyes follow this bag... so don't let it out of your sight! Ha!)  I can't say enough about this camera.  It's heavy, but it takes such gorgeous pics and I've treated it like my baby for years. 

For Sale including shipping and all items below; $1250.00
Jo Totes camera bag in Butterscotch, with moveable velcro dividers and strap (So amazing!)
Canon 7D body with strap and cover
Tamron zoom lens AF 28-75mm F 2.8 with lens cap, lens filter and lens hood, plus additional brand new lens hood
Canon EF 50mm 1:1.4 with lens cap, lens filter and lens hood (favorite fixed lens of all time & great for faces and low light)
Charger and transfer cord
Original manual (dog-eared by me)
Various cleaning wipes and brushes, additional strap clasps/buckles
Pocket memory card wallet

If you want this, first person to email me at will get it.  I'll invoice you, and once Paypal notifies me of payment, I'll ship it your way via UPS with tracking.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A little Video chat about the direction I'd like to take my blog in 2017

I have fallen kind of in love with the vlog world lately.  I love watching and listening to people that I enjoy, chat about the topics they want to share.  It's a connection, and I am big on those.  I'd really like to do some more throughout this year as time allows and topics pop up.  (I promise to look in a mirror and maybe comb my windblown hair (to myself- "seriously girl!") before the next one. Ha!) 

I feel like having them wrap up in under ten minutes is about right, but I'm feeling my way through this, so some may be more and others may go over. In all honestly I probably couldn't have chosen a more scatter brained day to do this but I chose not to overthink and simply gave you my real self!  

Click here to watch... (fingers crossed that I did this right!)   


Saturday, December 24, 2016


It had to be done. A stepping away for clarity's sake.  

In October, I thought this blog was done and something new would take it's place eventually.  I wasn't sure if it would be a brand new site but last week, when the renewal notice came for this site's domain, I couldn't let it go.  It was and is a part of my heart and soul. I walked this snowy path with my husband yesterday, yapping about blog possibilities for maybe the millionth time since I walked away in October, but in the end I suppose I always knew exactly what I was going to do. 

I weeded through what I want and don't want as far as what I can give, what I'll say yes to, and who I'll answer to with the whole social media bucket.  I won't be reopening my shop or public Instagram, I'll just be here. Simply here, writing occasionally and photographing life when I want to.   

Merry Christmas dear friends.  I'll see you in the New Year. 


Friday, October 14, 2016

A couple of my favorite life hacks...

I love things that make life easier, use resources better, and generally help a girl out, so today I am sharing just a few of my favorite hacks, plus a little cuteness.  It's stormy outside, here in the Pacific Northwest and I am thoroughly enjoying the cozy indoors as I write this. 

My first hack originally came from my friend Lissa, who blogs here.  Over the last year, it has quickly become one of my very favorite and useful life hacks and I've used it repeatedly!  You know how you purchase a really great scented candle, only to burn it down and toss it out with a rim of unused wax all over the inside when it's all over? Doesn't that seem so wasteful?  The idea is: purchase a few wicks from a craft store and then when your candle is finished, pluck the remaining original wick from the bottom, put the candle into a pot of water, melt the wax back down, then pop your new wick in, let it harden, and voila, new candle!

 I love the Volcano scented candles at Anthropologie.  (I may actually be a little obsessive about these candles.) They are far and away my all time favorite scent.  But their candles are so pricey.  My husband bought me a nice big one last year, and I think it was about $25-30.  Well, I want that baby to last as long as possible and be as responsible as I can with a splurge purchase like that!  I've melted the wax down once before and used the same big candle holder with a new wick, but this morning I went for round two if you can believe that.  I still had enough leftover melted wax to fill two entirely new candle holders!

My personal tip- put a small amount of melted wax into the bottom of your vessel and let that harden around the new wick.  I use a chopstick to hold it in place.  Once the wax at the bottom is hardened, you can add the remaining melted wax to fill it.  The wick wont move on you at that point.
  Tip #2- don't move them.  Just let them come to room temp.  I've made this one expensive candle last a whole year and I still have two brand new candles out of it as of this afternoon.  It's like the gift that keeps on giving.

Okay next life hack. This isn't original either but I personally love it, as a busy mom of teens.  I want to feed my kids well, I want to spend minimal amount of time doing it and I want to move on to the next thing the night holds.  It's a tall order but I believe it can be done!

Boxed soups.  One evening I was rushing, I had two boxes of trader joe's butternut squash soups in the pantry.  I pulled them out and started thinking.  My boys are super into having meat.  So I knew I had to add meat somehow!  Boys! I quickly cooked a package of mild Italian sausage, drained it and added into the soup, then I doctored the rest of it with spices.  I added a handful of chopped fresh sage, 2 tsp curry powder, 1/2 tsp each of cumin and tumeric.  You can add more or less to taste.  This soup was so good.  So fall-flavorful and took less than ten minutes.  I served them all bread on the side and they want it again so I consider it a win.
 I took the rest of the fresh sage and hung it upside down to dry.  I'll use that through the winter, so nothing wasted. 
 This is a general fun life hack for those dark and dreary days.  Take a battery-powered light string and drop it into any glass vessel.  Even better if it's got a self timer and can come on at the same time each day. (I haven't gotten one with a clear battery pack so you can see it at the bottom.  If you've got a great tip for hiding these please share in comments.  I went so far as to fill the bottom with sand, rip the guts out of a battery powered candle and tuck the battery pack up inside the candle.  I wasn't a huge fan of that look and I like less fuss so it's just like this for now and I'm okay with that because the lights are so fun.  The glass pumpkin is $8 at Target right now.)
 This is one of my most often used ones.  I frequently need to do a quick touch up to my kitchen cabinets or trim, because I swear I live with children who are actually little bulls in a china closet. Ha! One day, I poured a bit of paint into a mason jar, and used a rubber band to attach the tiny artist brush I often use.  It's been so handy for quick dings and scratches, and I keep it in my laundry room so the paint is always at room temp and nearby!
 And now for some pretty.  My friend Kim, showed up to bible study with a platter of these little white pumpkins.  (She hollowed them out, added some soil and succulents and they are tiny perfection!)  The whole platter was adorable and I think these would be the cutest place card holders for a fall table.  Or a long row of them could be a great centerpiece.  She said after the pumpkin rots, move the succulents into another container.  Awesome.
Finally, I just added this wintry print to my shop for purchase. (I know it's a bit early but y'all are all buying up the Christmas tree-topped vintage camper watercolor and several other Holiday prints so I can get away with adding this, right?) (wink)

Are there any fun life hacks you can't live without?  It would be so fun to read about yours in comments!  

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tuesday Talks

It's a gray Tuesday morning over here in the Brodeur household and I've had to cancel today's plans to be home with a sick teenager.  While he's resting I decided to get a little blog post up, reflecting on the past weekend.  We experienced our first Homecoming and it was delightful.  Joe went with such a great group of good kids. From the sounds of it, they had a wonderful and safe time of dinner, dancing and a small after party at a friend's local dance studio where they had Italian sodas, snacks and more dancing while tired parents waited... Ha! 

I won't lie, it was super emotional for me which took me completely by surprise.  My baby!  A freshman... at his first school dance!  Waaaaaaaaaa!   I loved this shot.... there were two huge rocks where all our kids were arriving for photos before hand.  They were the perfect resting spot for all the corsage boxes.  Both of the rocks were covered with these boxes at the end and I thought it was adorable.

I wish I could show more photos but alas, they involved many other kids and I didn't ask any permission from parents.  Joe looked crazy handsome!  And a few musings about homecoming dances.  1) When did asking a girl take on more pressure for originality than asking a grown woman to marry you?  Seriously. (Also this could be an entire blog post but I'll refrain.) 2) The social scene is already heating up for my boy for Tolo, with these hoards of girls already feeling him out about his plans... Homecoming photos haven't even been printed yet.  Wowza.  I can't believe we're at this stage.  How did this happen?  And Junior girls too!  What?  3) Boys are super easy to prepare for a dance.  Deodorant and how to tie a tie. Boom!

 Speaking of plans. (This is where I admit my freakish nature out loud, unapologetically.) Do any of you have a notebook where you make lists (many lists) really far ahead of time so that you can keep all of life straight?  Because I do.  I jot down notes and reminders about all kinds of future events, plans, holidays, etc, and it keeps me really organized as the season goes along.  I've always been like this so it's rather normal in my mind... even if there are those who like to tease me about having my thanksgiving menu already planned out.  (You know who you are!) And yes.  Yes I do have it totally planned out.  How is that wrong? (My people gave me full license to change it up this year and I may have taken it and ran with it one night, while all alone with Pinterest and my Camille Styles entertaining book.  Just saying.)  This is the only way I never forget anything.  Otherwise... I would forget my own name. 

I've been mulling over various ideas for a thanksgiving table centerpiece ever since, and I'm going a little nuts for mixed metals right now.  I went to Goodwill last weekend hoping to find an inexpensive silver bowl and some old brass candlesticks.  I was doing a happy dance when I did find two perfect bowls and three brass candlesticks!  (I think I'll go back and hunt for three more since I have two months (I know) but even if I don't find any more with the right shapes and heights, these are good. I plan to put some gray tapers in them and though I'm not sure what flower arrangement I'll create, I'm practicing making some and enjoying them right now, as my seasonal flowers and foliage changes.

 I filled a silver bowl with wet floral foam, and then walked around my yard plucking faded plum-colored hydrangeas, unturned maple branches, dusty miller, and the last of my pink dahlias.  All together, they made something rather pretty. 

If you made fun of me in your head because of the list making... all kidding aside, it was survival for me.  Because of life circumstances I've shared in the past, I haven't been feeling it. My kids aren't used to me putting a pumpkin on the table and joking about being all decorated for fall.  (I think it concerned my daughter at one point.)  I will admit this to you with my eyes averted- I even momentarily considered not having a Christmas tree this year. I know. Just smack me please!  It seemed rather pointless at the time the thought crossed my mind because well... life details seemed way bigger than having a tree.  At least I got my act back together and realized that my kids life is being rocked alongside mine and I've got to keep some stable traditions intact for their sake, regardless how I'm feeling or not feeling because of how things are changing. Hence the notebook and drumming up of plans and ideas months in advance.  We all need a little something to cling to and cheer us on sometimes, don't we? 

(But if I ever lose that notebook we're all in trouble.)
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Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

 Just on the off chance you're like me and already thinking of your Thanksgiving table... I wanted to once again share these beautiful place mats.  They would obviously work year-round, but especially during the holidays! Click here to view them at Ever Thine Home.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Teenage style- (real teen boy bedroom makeover)

A few years ago, I was trying to convince my son that he needed to throw out half of his collected "items" and make his bedroom into a teen hangout haven. 

He resisted, so I dropped the issue. Boys can get very attached to rocks and sticks and pieces of tools... grin. Fast forward a little and he was finally ready to make some changes.  We'd been chatting about things we (aka I) wanted to do for a while.  We pondered the whole industrial pipe shelf idea but it felt like a lot of work and was more expensive that it seemed at first.  Then we talked about Ikea options, but that wasn't really my son's style.  My husband came up with the idea of lockers but we couldn't ever find any that weren't hundreds of dollars!  But then last weekend we stumbled upon a great locker set up... the right price... and so we jumped.  (I am blown away by the level of storage they offer.  I didn't think we'd have enough room for all Joe's books- from an entire bookshelf- or his personal items but he has tons of empty lockers, and room at the bottom for his actual shoes and sports equipment!)

It, of course, spiraled into an entire room refresh, as these things often do.  Some much needed sorting, weeding out and trash bag filling was accomplished and with some paint, new hardware and a lot less clutter, my son now has a room that is a reflection of his own style and personality- with maybe a few Mama tweaks and influences.  (I'd been showing him photos of Restoration Hardware teen boy rooms all year and he would always roll his eyes, ask where all their stuff was and assure me that it wasn't real.  He makes me laugh.)

I'm sorry to say that I didn't capture any before photos.  Can you just trust me when I say that as a mama who likes less clutter as opposed to more... it made me cringe and ache to get my hands on it and have my way?  Mis-matched furniture... an ugly green desk... no shelf space on the walls, just a bookcase that I hated and old, tired bedding that was in need of a refresh.  He still has a folding chair for his desk because this is real life... you can't always change everything at once but with a little creativity, a lot can be done in a weekend.  Change is hard for my son.  My daughter loves to redo things but Joe gets a bit attached to the way things are and I try to be understanding.  Ah, motherhood.  We worked together and it was a sweet little bonding time for us as I helped him and talked him through it. 

We touched up all his wall paint and I painted his desk with leftover paint from my recent coffee table refresh.  Joe chose these cool drawer pulls to finish his desk look, and I installed them.  We tossed his tired duvet cover and went with his existing cozy blankets, rather than matchy bedding and I actually liked this look way better.  It's very clean and tidy.  (Of course I'm sure it will stay just like this too.)  I sewed his Euro pillow cover from an old camp blanket that had a hole in it a couple years ago, and it worked perfectly in his room. I'm so glad I never got rid of it!

This shelf set up was so easy.  We bought four inexpensive metal brackets at Lowes and spray painted them with hammered metal spray paint.  My sweet husband installed them in studs and we had a six foot board cut in half for the shelf boards.  I stained them gray with leftover stain and loved the way they tied in with things.  The shelf materials cost under $25. 
We placed the books and items that had special meaning to Joe on his shelves and I think they turned out great!  He was a big Lego lover as a little boy and would spend hours creating things.  I love that a few of those creations have a place to be displayed as a reminder of his childhood. 

 The amazing sign above his bed is something he's had in his room for years.  Its from sweet Tara, at Between You and Me sign shop.
 Joe loves to play guitar, and we found this print on Etsy last Christmas as a present for him (I'm sorry I don't remember the name of the shop).  It's a guitar blueprint. 
 All of his clothing, hamper and dresser are in his closet and that works well since teen boy clothing should be behind closed doors. Ha! His hats are hung behind his door and a long mirror is attached to the back of his door.  I recently saw a great idea for a hamper... a metal garbage can with lid.  (He didn't need a hamper but it would sure look cool.  As for the men's room sign on his door... I have no words. He thinks it's hilarious.  I just go with it.  Boys.)
 I love using wall space as much as possible for kid rooms and these wall-mount guitar hangers are a great way to keep instruments off floors.
We recently changed our dining room lights and I had two of these metal barn lights from Lowe's leftover.  I wasn't sure what to do with them but when this makeover began, I decided to use one of them in Joe's room.  I spray painted it with more of that hammered metal paint. Joe chose an edison bulb and that's getting installed for him tonight. 

I'm so glad it turned out this well.  I won't lie, I so wanted to quit at about the half way mark but nothing great ever happens when you put things off or quit... so in light of my commitment post I shared the other day... I persevered.  Whoo!  

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